At the end of last year I wrote a prediction piece for AMEX OPENForum suggesting that 2010 would be the year that small businesses move more computing power online or, using the more trendy term, to the cloud.
Google and Microsoft are both working very hard to create adoption of online versions of the most commonly used software tools such as spreadsheets, word processors and databases.
In my mind Google just took a giant leap forward with the launch of the Google Apps Marketplace. The Apps Marketplace functions much like the iPhone or Android applications marketplaces, but all of the apps found here integrate in one way of another with the existing Google Apps suite of tools. With the additional functionality that can come with integration of tools to do just about anything look for Google Apps to take a giant leap in adoption from both enterprise and small business.
Combine Google Apps and the souped up functionality available in the Apps Marketplace with GMail and Google Calendar and you now have the ability easily run you entire company with software and services in the cloud. Setting up your domain with Google Apps for domains, at $50 per year per user, allows you to create custom white label versions of the Google Apps for a seamless branded experience.
Below are few examples of the types of applications found in the Apps Marketplace.
Time Bridge – makes scheduling of meetings with various staff or even outside vendors much easier.
Expensify – Easy expense tracking and reporting
Survey Monkey – popular survey tool integrates into Google Apps
Cordys Process Factory – helps users of Google Apps to create workflows, automate business processes
TripIt – Share travel details such as hotels and flights with staff
You’ll also find offerings from familiar names such as Intuit, FreshBooks, Vertical Response, MailChimp and Zoho. The online application space is getting very interesting and it still has a long way to go, but the near future have just been defined.